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Rehabilitation & Reintegration

Since 2010, ICCT has been conducting projects, research and specialised technical assistance on the rehabilitation and reintegration of violent extremist offenders. This initiative focusses primarily on prisons as potential enabling environments where convicted (terrorist) offenders may network, exchange information, radicalise, recruit, and even command or plan terrorist operations outside prison. Eventually, most convicted offenders will be released and the goal of ICCT’s work is to assist governments in designing and implementing effective rehabilitation and reintegration programmes for violent extremist offenders, and to minimise the spread of violent extremist ideology in prison settings.

To date, these activities have involved several high-level conferences and expert meetings, the drafting of the GCTF Rome Memorandum on Good Practices, consultations with various stakeholders, and several publications. Currently, ICCT is developing and implementing a modular training course for senior prison officials and policy-makers in South East Asia and Africa, and developing a comprehensive risk assessment tool.


Conference on Good Practices & Lessons Learned

December 6, 2011

Approximately 20 countries, a number of multilateral organisations and 30 independent experts participated in the December meeting on the rehabilitation and reintegration of violent extremists and the related issue of prison radicalisation which took place in The Hague. This initiative aimed to bring together relevant policymakers, practitioners and experts to share information and best practices. Due to the overwhelmingly positive response of participant nations, a decision was made to expand this project to include a capacity building component. The conference in The Hague can be seen as a key step to transition from dialogue to capacity building.

GCTF Rome Memorandum on Good Practices

May 14, 2012

In response to the successful December 2011 conference in The Hague, in May 2012, members of the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF) convened to discuss the ICCT/UNICRI good practices document that was produced after the conference in The Hague. Here, the GCTF members transformed the document into a GCTF product (the “Rome Memorandum”), which was formally adopted at the GCTF ministerial-level plenary session in Turkey from 7-8 June 2012.

Review of the Implementation of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy

June 28, 2012

On 28 and 29 June 2012, the UN General Assembly convened for the third biennial review of its Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy at UN headquarters in New York. Following a keynote speech by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, the morning session – chaired by UNICRI Director Jonathan Lucas – focused on rehabilitation and reintegration programmes and the efforts of UNICRI and ICCT on this front. Former ICCT Director Mr. Peter Knoope and UNICRI Senior Advisor Dr. Douglas Stone brought the programme, good practices document, and technical assistance component to the attention of the large audience of Member State representatives.

Expert Meeting on the Role of Psychology in Rehabilitation

May 15, 2013

In May 2013, ICCT convened an expert workshop on The Role of Psychology in Rehabilitation and Reintegration of Violent Extremist Offenders together with the Hedayah centre in Abu Dhabi. More than twenty practitioners and experts from around the world shared best practices and lessons learned for the role of psychology and psychologists in rehabilitation, and developed more detailed guidelines for the involvement of psychologists. The experts also suggested creative approaches to de-radicalisation for settings in which psychologists may not be available. Further, the need for risk assessment was discussed; these assessments are required to measure the potential of a convicted offender radicalising other individuals in prisons, and to evaluate the risk of an incarcerated offender re-committing a crime upon release. The focused discussions led to additional guidance and concrete suggestions of ways in which the Rome Memorandum can be implemented.

Prison De-Radicalisation and Reintegration GCTF Plenary Meeting in Abu Dhabi

June 3, 2013

In corporation with UNICRI and Hedayah, ICCT co-organised the GCTF Plenary meeting on Prison DeRadicalisation and Reintegration in Abu Dhabi from 3-5 June 2013. Participants included delegations from 15 countries as well as practitioners and experts in the field. The general aim of this plenary meeting was to further build on the Rome Memorandum, and to exchange experiences on the integration of the Rome principles in national programmes.  The implementation of rehabilitation programmes in different environments, such as conflict zones, was also addressed, as was the need to properly assess – and not exaggerate – the threat stemming from prisons as potential breeding grounds for radicalisation.

Development of Modular Training Course on Rehabilitation and Reintegration of Violent Extremist Offenders

August 1, 2013

During the second half of 2013, ICCT developed and piloted a modular training course in the area of rehabilitation and reintegration of violent extremist offenders in the Philippines, based around the GCTF Rome Memorandum on Good Practices. This weeklong training module aimed at further developing the knowledge and toolset of 20-25 policymakers and senior prison officials relating to the management and rehabilitation of these offenders, and to assist in dealing with the related threats of prison radicalisation and post-release recidivism. The course was delivered by select expert trainers and included a fictional case study/table top exercise to familiarise participants with the material and its practical applications.

ICCT developed and implemented this training course in the Philippines  together with in-house and external experts, including Major General (Ret.) Dr. Doug Stone (Senior Advisor, UNICRI), Prof. Dr. Arie Kruglanski (Professor of Psychology, University of Maryland) and Dr. Peter Bennett (Director, International Centre for Prison Studies). Following the pilot training and based on thorough evaluations including in-country follow up, the course is currently being further refined and packaged as a modular training programme and implemented in different environments, tailored to local contexts and needs.

About the Project

GCTF Rome Memorandum on Good Practices

In May 2012, members of the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF) convened to discuss the ICCT/UNICRI good practices document that was produced in December 2011 after a conference in The Hague. GCTF members worked to transform the document into a GCTF product (the “Rome Memorandum”), which was formally adopted at the GCTF ministerial-level plenary session in Turkey from 7-8 June 2012, a meeting co-hosted by US Secretary of State Clinton and Turkish Foreign Minister Davutoğlu. During the meeting it became clear there was widespread agreement about the need to increase the members’ collective focus on this subject, and the importance of these principles in moving efforts forward in this key area.

The good practices outlined in the Rome Memorandum are intended to inform and guide countries as they develop programmes designed to rehabilitate and disengage incarcerated violent extremists or to address more general issues relating to prison radicalisation. Endorsement of these good practices in rehabilitation and reintegration programmes for violent extremist offenders is an important milestone for the GCTF, but also a significant push for the UNICRI/ICCT international initiative, specifically in terms of support for the technical assistance component.


During the pilot training in the Philippines, as well as in the literature and international discussions on the topic, the lack of specialised intake and risk assessment tools for violent extremist offenders was identified as an important missing component. During this project, ICCT will further develop two existing risk assessment tools used for assessing violent extremist offenders in prison, namely the Violent Extremism Risk Assessment Tool 2 (VERA 2, developed by E. Pressman & J. Flockton) and the Self-report Questionnaire (SQ, developed by A. Kruglanski) into a comprehensive internationally-applicable risk assessment battery. It will include the development of user manuals, training manuals, and a training module that will be piloted in the Philippines.

To realise these deliverables, ICCT will cooperate with the original authors of the two risk assessment tools, Prof. Arie Kruglanski (University of Maryland) and Dr. Elaine Pressman (Carleton University).


For more information on this project please contact Research Fellow Ms. Liesbeth van der Heide.